Master's Degree

Core Courses

Orientation in Community Development

This course is an introduction to the Community Development program. Students focus on online delivery methods, graduate level research and writing, and technology skills.

Community Development I: Principles and Strategies of Community Change

In this course, students analyze principles and practices of community change and development. Using case studies, students relate community development approaches to conceptual models from diverse disciplines. Students explore professional practice principles and construct their personal framework for practicing community development. This course is required before taking other core courses.

Community Development II: Organizing for Community Change

Students examine the role of civil society in community planning efforts and study the comparative approach to planning theories and approaches. Course content focuses on change within communities and the roles of government, planners, and citizens in reacting to or shaping change. Students explore current issues concerning planning and dealing with change by considering controversial practices such as covenants and land trusts, and students look at community responses to change. Students also study structure and implications of power, connections between social relationships and economic activity, and coalition building.

Community Analysis: Introduction to Methods

Community and Natural Resource Management

Community and Regional Economic Policy and Analysis

This course introduces concepts of communities and regions, theories of economic growth, drivers of economic growth, economic bases of communities, sources of growth or decline in communities, roles of local government and institutions, and analytical tools. The course also explores strategies for local economic development.

Electives

Community Leadership and Capacity Building

In this course, students define leadership and apply it to work. Students achieve understanding of the potential link between leadership and community capacity, and they identify strategies for leadership development in communities.

Ecological Economics

Economic Development and Strategies and Programs

The course covers the most widely used strategies and programs for economic development within an action planning process. Course content includes retention and expansion of business and industry, retail development and downtown revitalization, incubating new firm creation, industrial attraction, and tourism development. Students look at strategies and programs that use all forms of capital from all sources: private, public, and nonprofit sectors. Students study the organized efforts to plan, build, and manage each program.

Environmental Law

This course acquaints students with the fundamentals of state and federal pollution control law. Course content includes these major topics: air pollution control, water pollution control, toxic substances control, solid waste management and disposal, Superfund, wetlands, endangered species, land use regulation, environmental assessment, environmental law administration and enforcement, and global environmental law.

Evaluation of Organizations and Programs

Grantwriting

This is a basic grant development and management course that introduces students to the grant-getting process and provides an overview of what happens after a project is funded. The following topics are part of the course: researching funding sources, generating cutting edge ideas, assessing needs, planning a project, establishing credibility, formulating a sustainable budget, designing an evaluation plan, managing the funded project, and disseminating project results. Course objectives are to establish grant development basics, to identify sources of funding information, examine the essential components of a proposal, increase comfort with grant proposal writing, and explore best practices for program management.

Housing and Development Programs

Immigrants & Communities

International migration has historically impacted rural and urban communities around the world. Taking a comparative approach, this course examines community-immigrant interaction and how that influences community development and immigrant inclusion. Students read and relate theories of immigrant and community change to case studies of immigrants and communities. Students gather primary data to assess the capacity of communities to include new international immigrants. The course also examines out-migration?s effects on community development in sending communities?in terms of their loss of human capital?the contribution of remittances. The course further examines the overall transnationalization of such communities.

Land Development Planning

In this course, students examine the process of land development in the United States and its impacts from the perspective of developers, financial institutions, community planners, and city administrators. The focus of the course is on understanding the land development process in meeting community goals and shaping land development to meet community expectations for the improvement of the community.

Sustainable Communities

Content of this course links management of natural capital to other community-based actions around resource allocation and the impacts on quality of life. Students examine literature on community-based natural resource management and assess alternative ways of valuing natural capital. Students contrast theories of natural capital in communities and human society as the theories relate to community sustainability with regard to economic vitality, social well-being, and ecosystem health.

Elective in CD: International Development

International development can be defined as a broad concept encompassing human, social, and economic change on a national and global level. Despite this seemingly straightforward definition, the idea and practice of international development involves a myriad of systems, structures, and perspectives?and is often highly contested. In this course, students will learn more about the theories, actors, and evolution of international development, cooperation, and aid. This overview is accompanied by an analysis of current international development trends and critiques: Who defines and directs international development? How do power, privilege, culture, and worldview influence the process? This course is geared towards students who have an interest in exploring the systems, relations, and politics involved in community development on an international level.

Elective in CD: Introduction to GIS

This course introduces students to geographic information systems (GIS). The course includes discussions of GIS hardware, software, data structures, data acquisition, data conversion, data presentation, analytical techniques, and implementation procedures. Laboratory emphasis is on practical applications and uses of GIS.

Courses in the Area of Working with Native Communities

Introduction to Native Community Development

This is a base knowledge course for students currently working within or in partnership with Native communities or considering working in this area. Within the context of community development, students gain a basic understanding of the diversity of tribal structures and cultures and learn about the unique history and jurisdictional considerations of these nations. Topics explored in this course are working with tribes, federal and Indian relations, and governance and cultural issues. Students complete a holistic analysis and conceptual mapping of a tribe. This course is required before students may take other courses in the Working with Native Communities Track.

Building Native Community and Economic Capacity

This course focuses on non-western approaches to helping Native communities build their capacity. Focus is on a participatory, culture-centered, and strength-based approach to development.

Indian Country Agriculture and Natural Resources

This course introduces students to historical and contemporary issues related to natural resource management on Native American lands. Students study a variety of ecological settings across Native American lands and analyze tribal sovereignty as it relates to land tenure and water rights. As part of this course, students debate federal, state, and tribal policies concerning agriculture, fisheries, wildlife, parks, and wilderness co-management; they debate water supply, water quality, emerging zoonotic diseases, and agri-security. Students also explore philosophical and economic arguments concerning natural resource conservation, reservation, and extraction.

Capstone

Capstone: Thesis or Creative Component

The capstone course of the Community Development degree program involves either a written thesis or a creative component option. This course is the final course for students in this degree program. Students work individually with their creative component advisors to demonstrate mastery of the degree program's course of study. Prerequisite: All other course work must be completed before enrolling.
Program Summary
Cost per credit hour:

Summer 2017: $545
2017-2018: $565

36 Hours


12 Hours

University Contact
These campus coordinators can help you navigate Great Plains IDEA. Click on the university name to learn more about how Great Plains IDEA works at that campus. Michelle Zander
Rachel Ohmes
Karen Murie
Theresa Ireland
Diane Wasser
University Members
Members of the Great Plains IDEA are universities accredited by a regional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Member universities recruit, admit and graduate students, teach in an academic program and contribute to the leadership and maintenance of the alliance. Membership in the alliance is a selective process that engages institutional leadership at all levels.

– – Jacy Phillips, University of Nebraska-Lincoln